There is a reason why this article title caught your eye.
You, like many other Americans, are stressed and overwhelmed. Plain and simple.
According to Dictionary.com life has decided to:
Between work, exercising, your children, spouse, friends, errands, and a seemingly endless list of other responsibilities, you have gotten to the point where it’s simply too much to handle.
Well, I’ve got a very different theory that is actually the underlying cause of that stress. One that you probably haven’t considered.
Those aforementioned responsibilities are important and are causes of stress and negative feelings, but they wouldn’t even be an issue without the following concept.
In reality, the reason why you (and many others) are feeling so overwhelmed, is because you are doing what you think you have to, not what you want to.
No, this is not a feel-good article about quitting your job, moving to the Galapagos Islands and leaving your mortgage and friends behind. This concept goes beyond that.
The feeling of being overwhelmed occurs when you feel like the total accumulation of tasks and responsibilities that you have to achieve, does not fit in with your perceived or designated time frame and you have not met your own and/or others expectations.
“So how does doing what I want prevent stress?”
Glad you asked. Here’s how.
When you make a conscious decision to be selective about only attempting or doing the things in life that you truly want to do (regardless of their difficulty or time commitment), you almost entirely remove the feeling of being burdened or unsatisfied from the equation.
First, you will accomplish more due to the fact that you will no longer be cramming useless or forced activities into your schedule.
No more obligatory dinners with frenemies who you don’t even like in the first place. No more going to 6 pm spin class with your friend Dorris from work simply because you can’t think of any other way to exercise and she asked awhile back. And most importantly, no more doing meaningless work for the rest of your life.
Without these things weighing you down, you will have time to get the things done that matter.
Second, you are going to be doing what’s fulfilling to you now. That takes away the heavy and hopeless feelings.
People who are passionate about what they do, may have moments where they have to work hard, make tough decisions, and the occasional bits of stress. But overall, they are enthralled by their day to day work, and they don’t need any motivation to get it done.
For you, it’s the opposite. You work and begrudgingly go through the motions of life for the sake of habit, a little more money, or other’s perception of what your life should be.
It’s time to stop.
How do I start doing what I want in life?
Now you’re talking. That is an excellent question.
The following steps are easy to follow guidelines on doing just that. But you have to actually do them. In order. Right now.
Seriously. Do them.
- Get out a piece of paper (not your phone or computer). Write down everything you’re currently doing consistently in any given week. This should include everything. Netflix, the grocery store, work, tidying up around the house, etc. If it takes up time, write it down. Take 10 minutes to consider
- Write a list of things you’d like to be doing with your life. This can be anything at all that would fulfill you or make you happy. Really sit down and put some thought and effort into it. Take another 10.
- Go back to your first list and eliminate half of your activities. That’s right, pick half of the items and draw a line right through them. What you and many others fail to understand is that these tasks that you burden yourself with, aren’t really important to you or anyone else in the grand scheme of a happy life. They are either habits, time fillers, or obligatory practices that you’ve picked up and simply never taken the time to be conscious of, organize, or unlearn.
- Add up the time per week that step number three would save you (sorry in advanced for making you do math). Choose one item from the list in step 2 that you could realistically dedicate yourself to each week in your new found period of freedom.
- Then, write down one thing you will do every day from now on to achieve/experience what you chose in step 4. Give yourself only the new found time to dedicate towards this each week. This will allow you to experience this goal or desire, while keeping within your normal life time constraints and overburdening yourself.
- Watch yourself start enjoying your life more.
And that’s it. Much luck on your journey to not being so overwhelmed all the time. You are now on the right track.
Ps, go do the activity. I know you haven’t yet. ^